President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin yesterday, Tuesday 6 August / 5 Av, visited the border protection system on the border between Israel and Egypt near Nitzana. The forces include the Karakal, Arayot HaYarden, Bardelas and Leviot HaBiq’a battalions who are tasked with routine security activities in Judea and Samaria and along the Israeli borders with Egypt and Jordan, and include men and women serving in a variety of positions. The president was escorted on his visit by Head of IDF Personnel Directorate Maj Gen Moti Almoz, commander of the Border Protection Division Brig Gen Amir Avstein, deputy commander of the Adom formation Col Dudu Cohen and commander of the Faran Brigade Col Yitzhak Ben Bassat.
The border protection force, established in 2017, is responsible for routine security of Israel’s borders. Its soldiers and commanders play a significant role in combat intelligence and infantry teams and as observers and command post commanders. Between 2012 and 2016, there was an increase of 150% in the numbers of women serving in the IDF ground forces, and the number of female observers serving in the border protection forces has grown significantly over the last decade, which in addition has also incorporated the trackers’ unit.
The president observed an exercise that demonstrated a wide range of capabilities to deal with the challenges of the southern sector and the ongoing operational activities to protect the Israeli-Egyptian border. “Men and women of the IDF, this is the president,” he said over the communication system at the end of the demonstration, and thanked them. “Thank you for an excellent demonstration of your capabilities. Well done! Out.”
The president reviewed the various observation facilities and even piloted one of the drones operated by the combat intelligence teams.
Speaking to the soldiers after the exercise, the president heard about the different places they came from. A new immigrant from the Netherlands told the president that she came to Israel because of Zionism, and a soldier from the village of Kafr Qara said how proud he was that he had learned Hebrew, and that he could speak with the president alongside soldiers from all over the country and from all parts of Isaeli society.
“You play such an important role for all of us,” the president said, adding, “this is not just any other unit. You face serious questions that pertain to all of the tribes that make up Israeli society. At the end of the day, we all live together in the same society and country and we must all protect it. We will not leave our defense in the hands of others, and if we don’t protect our country, no one else will.”
The president thanked the women who serve in the force, including many religious girls, saying, “we do not want to hurt part of the Israeli society, nor the key values and beliefs of any citizen of Israel. The IDF is doing a wonderful job in allowing every person to act according to their faith, with all the complexities involved.”
The President warmly thanked the soldiers and commanders and asked them to look after themselves while they are guarding us.
Attached photo credit: Kobi Gideon (GPO)